Ann Kinner, owner of Seabreeze Nautical Books & Charts, and Matt Kalla, president of the Peninsula Chamber, have been walking door-to-door to visit businesses. Kinner and Kalla have been talking to merchants about the concept of a BID and inviting them to weekly meetings.
“I didn’t know what a BID was at first, but when it was explained, it made sense,” Kinner said. “We need something to keep businesses going here and promote what we’ve got.”
She said she sees many benefits of a BID, including promoting the Shelter Island experience, giving merchants a unified voice in government affairs and preservation.
“We want to keep the character of Shelter Island so it doesn’t turn in to condo land,” Kinner said.
A BID is a collaboration between the city and a small business community. The businesses assess themselves an annual fee, which the city collects and returns to the BID through a nonprofit organization. Elsewhere in the Peninsula, the Ocean Beach business district has a successful BID, managed by the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association. It focuses on organization, promotion, economic restructuring and design.
The Peninsula Chamber kicked off the “Forward, Together!” campaign in May when it mailed a survey to the area’s 770 businesses. Hour-long conversations are being held to engage the community in the BID-exploration conversation. The community is invited to participate during the upcoming meetings.
July 31: 4 p.m., Pacific Sotheby Real Estate, 1075 Rosecrans St.
Aug, 1: 8:30 a.m., at the Wine Pub, 2907 Shelter Island Drive
The conversational meetings are to gather input on how to attract more people to the area, how to become more effective in working with City Hall and how to improve stronger ties between businesses, according to Kalla.
Shelter Island was created in 1950 when the San Diego Harbor Commission dredged San Diego Bay to deepen and widen the channel. Once home to one of the world’s largest commercial fishing fleets, the area today hosts an eclectic mix of maritime and hospitality businesses. Many are mainstays of tourism, San Diego’s third-largest industry.
Virtually free of corporate logos, the neighborhood gets its identity from small businesses. Iconic San Diego family-owned restaurants like the Bali Hai, which opened in 1953, and the Brigantine’s flagship restaurant, which opened in 1969, are anchors in the community. Locally-owned or operated hotels include Humphreys Half Moon Inn, the Island Palm Hotel & Marina, Pacific Terrace, Bay Club and the Kona Kai.
Seabreeze Books, which provides maritime provisions and nautically-themed books and gifts, opened in 1980. Kinner, who took ownership of the shop in 2004 and is also a boat captain, is concerned about keeping San Diego’s sports fishing industry afloat.
“What I worry about is that each boat is somebody’s business, it just floats,” she said. “A BID would give us some clout.”
Celia Condit and her husband, Art Taylor, co-own Searcher Sports Fishing and Natural History Tours. Condit supports establishing a BID.
“We have the finest sports fishing in the world,” Condit said. “A BID would help us create awareness about that.”
For more information on the “Forward, Together!” campaign, call (619) 295-5171, or visit peninsulachamber.com.